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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.18%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 31.82%
Total Crap: 13.64%

1 review, 16 user ratings

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Still Doing It: The Intimate Lives of Women Over 65
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by Chris Parry

"A brave documentary with a fatal flaw."
2 stars

Women enjoy sex, and older women still enjoy sex. That's the message behind Still Doing It, and it's certainly a valid message. But as this film takes an indepth look at the lives of nine women aged 65 to 87, from all walks of life, two things become very clear. Firstly, that we should be ashamed of ourselves that we cringe when older people get romantic in public. Secondly, that regardless of the shame we feel, we're still gonna cringe regardless.

Single, straight, married, gay, black, white - documentarian Deirdre Fishel talks to them all in her pursuit of the reality behind mature age sex, and what she discovers makes for interesting viewing. From women who have rediscovered their sexual selves when most people are preparing for nursing home care, to women over 65 who are involved in relationships with men thirty years their junior, it's clear that society as a whole discriminates more against the sexually active aged than they do any other sector of society. You can be gay, you can be bi, you can be into whips and chains, you can marry your cousin, but if you're 72 and getting nightly action from a 32 year old, people are going to call it sick.

Perhaps I should correct that - if you're a 72 year old WOMAN and you're getting action from a 32 year old MAN, then people take issue. If the older party is a man, nobody really does more than roll their eyes and snicker.

So what exactly is society's problem? If older men can have young women on their arm, why can't an older woman have a younger guy? And if the consenting adults are both of age, and opt to be very public with their affections, why shouldn't they be able to without us younger folk 'getting all up ins'?

All valid food for thought, and definitely a topic that warrants discussion, but unfortunately Still Doing It goes a step further than it needs to in an effort to shock us into changing our ways. With abundant footage of older women laying about in swimsuits, posing naked, or even showering with full frontal exposure, the result tends to poke the audience in the chest and say, "See? Natural! Deal with it!"

Of course, this is a tactic that could well work with some, but one tends to think that, even if you get the message, you're likely to object to the way it's being shoved at you. Personally, I can deal with seeing older flesh on screen, and nothing shown in Still Doing It is in any way done for the sake of titillation, but it's just toooo in your face, toooo 'we know best' and toooo 'if you can't take this, there's something wrong with you'. To put it another way, if you're making a documentary about how interracial couples are being discriminated against wrongly, do you show said couples together naked, in a shower?

Perhaps to shock wasn't the intention of the filmmakers, but it's certainly the effect that the film has on an average audience. The question for you, the potential viewer, is whether you want to see a documentary that will jar you and force you to either change your view or feel awful for not doing so. On the other hand, if the film had taken a different tack, and maybe not been so 'in your face', it may well have been more effective as a tool of changing people's attitudes.

Quite simply, yes, there is an age-ism problem in our society, and that combines with sexism to put older female women who wish to continue enjoying their bodies, on the outer with the youth-obsessed, male-centric general population. But the way to change that is not through shock, but reason - not through force, but coercion. Fishel does wonderfully well in portraying her subjects as people who deserve our attention and consideration, but perhaps the documentarian is too close to the subject matter, for she blows that early cred by just going hard until there's truly nothing left to say.

A film that could be very important to certain people in the population, it's downfalls unfortunately make it just too unpalatable for those who most need to hear the message.

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originally posted: 06/12/04 18:15:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/04/11 sedele perfect 4 stars
12/05/10 Bo i am a male who has experienced love and excitement with women that was 60 years and older. 5 stars
8/17/10 R.Rathnaweera jg 5 stars
6/25/07 tb verry interesting 4 stars
6/15/07 Lise from Australia Divine women, loved them all, inspiring and echoes my own feelings, brava! 5 stars
6/14/07 lorri Wonderful. Would enjoy seeing it again.Warm sensitive and articulate women. 5 stars
10/08/05 maurice very disappointing and I was looking forward to it 1 stars
10/08/05 belinda no excuse for begin so shallow 1 stars
1/30/05 Carl Excellent! There IS life after 50, 60, and 70! These women were out to experience life. 5 stars
1/28/05 becquer I only saw the Times Discovery Channel version (sans nude showers). Very worthy REAL topic! 4 stars
11/05/04 Terri I Loved this film. It's about time this subject was addressed. 5 stars
10/27/04 meg hilarious, interesting, surprising, and yes, shocking 5 stars
6/08/04 femke a powerful and moving documentary, good subject. 4 stars
6/01/04 Lorraine It was wonderful!!!! 5 stars
4/24/04 Selena Felt very shallow - no insight or emotion or new information 1 stars
4/05/04 Kelly interesting women, poor filmmaking 2 stars
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